‘We’re free AGAIN!’: Arrested Insulate Britain protestors say they have been released without conditions after blocking M25 for sixth time – despite breaking injunction banning them from protesting
- Eco mob say those arrested for blocking motorways are being released again, raising fears of more disruption
- Hated group formed a barricade at junction 14 by Heathrow Airport involving between 30 and 40 protesters
- Eco-hypocrite spokesman Liam Norton crowed in press release that group would continue to break the law
- Protesters face time in prison for demonstration, which violates injunction not to obstruct the M25 or A20
- Demonstrators at blockade who have been arrested previously include Joshua Smith and Rev Tim Hewes
What do the injunctions mean and what could now happen to the protesters?
What is the injunction?
The High Court orders prohibit protesters from ‘blocking, endangering, slowing down, preventing, or obstructing traffic on the M25’ and A20 near Dover.
How will activists be punished?
Anyone from the group who tries to protest on the M25 or A20 will be in contempt of court.
The protesters are now likely to be hauled before a judge, who could sentence them to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Are there any loopholes?
It is only in place for the M25 and A20, meaning protesters could get around it by taking their disruptive actions to a different road.
Insulate Britain says its activists are still being released without conditions despite breaking a High Court injunction forbidding them from blocking motorways.
It comes after the Metropolitan Police arrested 53 members of the eco mob on Monday as they blocked the M25 for a sixth time.
The injunction, ordered by the High Court, was designed to act as a deterrent after weeks of blockades have infuriated motorists and large portions of the British public.
But news that the eco-warriors are being released without conditions, reported by LBC, raises fears that the widely-hated group will continue to wreak havoc by obstructing traffic and putting drivers’ lives at risk.
It comes as spokesman for the group Liam Norton warned in a video released today but recorded at the weekend: ‘You can’t scare us with these injunctions’ – adding that they were ‘prepared’ to be arrested.
Donning a black t-shirt and standing in front a bare white wall, he warned: ‘I’m going to sit in the roads and directly oppose the injunction handed out by the Home Secretary and the Transport Secretary.
‘Our message to the Government is that you can’t scare us with these injunctions.
‘You can send us to prison, and what that will show is the Government’s cowardice, because they’re actually standing up for powerful interests rather than looking after the interests of the vast majority of the British people.’
He added: ‘We just want the Government to get on with the job of protecting the people’s future in Britain and also to stop the needless deaths of thousands of our elderly who freeze to death in their homes each year because they have to make that awful decision between eating and drinking.
‘So our message to the Government is this; You can decide to put us in prison, and we’re prepared for that, but what would be better for the country maybe would be to give us a meaningful statement that you are going to get on with the job, so come on Boris, show some leadership, do what you need to do.’
The Metropolitan Police told the Mail Online it could not comment on the breaking of the injunction because it was a ‘civil issue’.
It comes after force today faced calls to keep the Insulate Britain activists behind bars.
The hated eco mob had formed a barricade at junction 14 by Heathrow Airport at around 8.20am – with more than 50 protesters again putting drivers’ lives at risk by running into moving traffic and using superglue to bind themselves onto the tarmac.
National Highways were granted injunctions to prevent people obstructing the M25 and A20 following further demonstrations at the Port of Dover on Friday.
At 11am, the Met said traffic had begun flowing again after officers arrested 53 people and took them custody.
They now risk being prosecuted for contempt of court and hauled before a judge, who could sentence them to two years in jail and an unlimited fine.
There will be fresh anger at the presence of several familiar faces at today’s blockade, many of whom have now been arrested for a sixth time.
These include property tycoon Joshua Smith, 28. He was branded a hypocrite after it emerged he owned a multi-million pound housing empire – but the homes had poor insulation, an issue at the heart of the group’s agenda.
Another repeat offender is the Rev Tim Hewes, 71. He was criticised by the Diocese of Oxford for his role blocking roads earlier this month, with a spokesman saying it did not support breaking the law and was ‘unclear’ how his actions had helped promote his cause.
More than 200 people have been arrested at Insulate Britain blockades in previous weeks only to be released under investigation and turn up at other protests.
Today an Insulate Britain source told MailOnline the majority of those present today are on their sixth arrest.
Hugh Bladon, from the Alliance of British Drivers, told MailOnline today: ‘They need to be sent straight to jail. Do not pass go or collect £200 – go to prison for at least six months.
‘These people are making a complete ass of the laws in this country, quite apart from the damage they are causing to people’s lives.’
It came as the group’s spokesman Mr Norton – who was branded a national laughing stock last week after storming off Good Morning Britain when he was quizzed on claims his own home hadn’t been insulated – vowed he and his fellow eco warriors would continue breaking the law and ‘aren’t going anywhere’.
Dr Diana Warner, 62, a retired GP from Bristol, today said she was at her fifth motorway blockade. ‘I’m here because of desperation, it’s not an easy thing to do,’ she said. ‘This is the fifth time I’ve been here trying to block a motorway because the only way to get the Government to listen is to disrupt things.’
Frustrated motorists branded the protesters ‘ridiculous’ and some got out of their vehicles to argue with them.
After being told by the group about their environmental concerns for the future, one woman replied: ‘I’ve got to feed my kids now, I need my money now, to feed my kids now, but you don’t get that. You don’t get it. If you did, you wouldn’t be blocking normal people like me, trying to get to work to feed my kids. You’re ridiculous, go somewhere else and stop stopping people going to work.’
Last week, woman had to be airlifted to hospital after a multi-vehicle crash blamed on the protesters and a son said he watched his mother suffer a stroke while stuck in six-hour queues on the way to hospital, leaving her paralysed.
Scroll down for video.
Joshua Smith at today’s protest (left) on what is now his sixth arrest. Mr Smith (seen right at an earlier demonstration) was branded a hypocrite after it emerged he owned a multi-million pound housing empire – but the homes had poor insulation, an issue at the heart of the group’s agenda
Vicar Tim Hewes (left) was among the selfish rabble today after being spotted at earlier blockade (right)
Police officers detain protesters from Insulate Britain occupying a roundabout leading from the M25 motorway to Heathrow Airport in London this morning
The hated mob loaded fresh misery onto drivers with yet another selfish protest today, with 52 activists involved, according to a press release
Drivers stand watching from their cars as traffic is halted during a roadblock by protesters from Insulate Britain today
A handcuffed protester is held by the verge by police. He was smattered with superglue – which the group regularly uses to make it harder for officers to move them
Four officers carry away a woman who was blocking the roundabout leading from the M25 motorway to Heathrow Airport
National Highways were granted injunctions to prevent people obstructing the M25 and A20 following further demonstrations at the Port of Dover on Friday. These mean activists involved in today’s protest could face time in prison
Joshua Smith has now been arrested six times. He was branded a hypocrite after it emerged he owned a multi-million pound property empire – but the homes had poor insulation, an issue at the heart of the group’s agenda.
The 28-year-old is heir to a £2million property empire and also has a seven-figure portfolio of his own. However, at least six homes owned by his Oldham-based company have efficiency ratings of E or F, according to the Sun.
This means the properties boast little or no insulation and also produce large quantities of extra carbon dioxide. Smith was pictured being held by police by the side of the M25 today before being led off in a police van.
Joshua Smith at today’s protest
Reverend Hewes, who once sewed up his lips in protest at the influence of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, was part of the mob blocking the M25 today despite already being arrested numerous times.
The activist ‘permission to officiate’ in the Diocese of Oxford although he does not have a parish.
Asked about Rev Hewes last week, a spokesman for the diocese said: ‘The actions of Rev Hewes and others, while arguably well-intentioned, have frustrated many people and we’re unclear how the actions have been productive in encouraging the urgent change required.’
Rev Hewes, a retired dentist, previously said the Bishop of Dorchester, Gavin Collins, who comes under the Diocese of Oxford, had told him ‘he does support issues regarding climate change and the environment but not about breaking the law’.
Reverend Hewes at today’s blockade
Insulate Britain, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, is calling for the Government to insulate homes in the UK to help cut carbon emissions.
Today its spokesman Mr Norton insisted court orders would not have any effect, saying: ‘You can throw as many injunctions at us as you like, but we are going nowhere.
‘You can raid our savings and confiscate our property.
‘You can deny us our liberty and put us behind bars. But that is only shooting the messenger.
‘The truth is that this country is going to hell unless you take emergency action to stop putting carbon into the air.’
Speaking at the scene of the protest after having been placed under caution, Mr Norton said the group’s demands were ‘simple’ and a ‘no-brainer’.
He said: ‘History will look upon this Government as cowardly because they are unable to stand up to powerful interests and are currently not looking after the British people.
‘They will be looked on as traitors for not fulfilling their primary responsibilities, and participating in the destruction of this country.’
During his disastrous appearance on GMB last week, the 36-year-old plumber extraordinarily compared himself to Sir Winston Churchill.
Asked about whether the group was happy to break a court injunction, fellow spokesman Tracey Mulligan told LBC today: ‘I wouldn’t say we are happy, we are just putting things into the bigger context.
‘We are tired of over seven million people having to choose between heating or eating and we know that’s going to get worse with the energy crisis that we’re facing now.’
Today another demonstrator, volunteer language teacher Victoria Lindsell, 66, said: ‘I’m wet through and I’m cold, it’s not my choice but I cannot have the responsibility and not do anything about it.’
The High Court granted National Highways an interim injunction preventing protesters from occupying the A20 and strategic roads linked to the Port of Dover after an Insulate Britain rabble sat down on roads in and out of the cross-Channel ferry port at about 8.20am on Friday.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We are absolutely committed to protecting the right to peaceful protest, but it is unacceptable that people cannot go about their day-to-day businesses and that businesses or critical supplies should be put on a knife’s edge because of the reckless actions of a few protesters.’
Those who breach the injunction will be in contempt of court and at risk of imprisonment and an unlimited fine, the Government said.
The injunction request came after the group blocked parts of the M25 five times in the past fortnight, much to the ire of motorists and passengers caught up in miles of snaking traffic.
Another campaigner, identified only as Emily, 22, from Manchester, said today: ‘I’m terrified about what’s coming down the road, particularly after the floods, storms and wildfires we’ve seen in Europe and Canada this year.
Police drag away protesters holding an Insulate Britain banner. The group is calling for the Government to insulate homes in the UK to help cut carbon emissions
Two officers move away an elderly man during today’s M25 protest. The group has vowed to continue breaking a court injunction
Asked about whether the group was happy to break the injunction, fellow spokesman Tracey Mulligan told LBC today: ‘I wouldn’t say we are happy, we are just putting things into the bigger context’
Activists from the group formed a roadblock on the slip road at junction 14 near Heathrow this morning, with police acting quickly to disperse them
Police have made dozens of arrests since the beginning of the campaign. The Met said more protesters had been taken into custody today
‘I’m worried about what happens when we run out of food and society begins to break down. I feel like the Government isn’t acting fast enough and won’t be able to protect us.
‘Insulating our homes is the most basic first step – it will get emissions down, create jobs and help families in fuel poverty – that’s real levelling up.
‘The Government knows what needs to be done. They just need to get on with it.’
The Met said: ‘The road has been cleared and traffic is flowing again. We made 53 arrests as we worked to minimise disruption to motorists.
‘Where possible we opened up lanes to ensure traffic could continue to move. Those arrested are being taken to custody.’
Protesters wore orange high-vis jackets to today’s demonstration. They have previously been blamed for a car crash which left a woman seriously injured
Police move in to arrest the mob after they sat in a line across the road, causing yet more misery from motorists suffering from a fuel crisis
Protesters are rounded up by police onto a verge. The group is campaigning to force the UK government to fully fund the insulation of Britain’s homes starting with social housing
The group is an offshoot of Insulate Britain, although some XR protesters have distanced themselves from its actions
The Met broke up today’s protest. Previously other forces have been involved depending on which one covered the particular section of road
Protesters are rounded up on the hard shoulder on the M25 near Heathrow Airport as huge queues build up
Police said: ‘Some activists have used superglue to frustrate our response. We are working as quickly as possible to clear the roads and get people moving’
Today’s protest could not come at a worse time for motorists, as panic buying combined with the HGV driver shortage led to up to nine in ten forecourts running dry.
Drivers queued for four hours or more in lines stretching for miles as it was revealed Boris Johnson could call in the Army to deliver petrol and diesel to petrol stations across Britain amid a crisis that has seen competition laws suspended to allow businesses such as Shell and BP to share drivers.
A lack of fuel has led to a mass return to working from home today, just weeks after the Government lifted most coronavirus-related legislation to get more people into the office.
TomTom traffic data revealed that congestion is down today in all major cities.
Schools have said they will return to the online classrooms used in lockdown if teachers can’t get to work – with some parents also unable to drive – while many petrol stations are now prioritising NHS workers in special two-hour slots where they must show ID to fill up.
One school in Surrey wrote to parents over the weekend saying: ‘The current petrol crisis could potentially disrupt school next week.
‘The ability of staff and pupils to get to school may be compromised and there may also be issues with our food deliveries.
‘Clearly, we have no desire to go back online so soon after the challenges of the last couple of years but we cannot exclude the possibility that it may be necessary’.
A fuel tanker arrives at a Shell garage in Manchester, amid reports drivers are following the trucks to get ahead of the queues
As dawn broke, drivers waited for hours to get to pumps in South London as panic buying made the situation worse
People push as a car, which has run out of petrol, the final few metres on to the forecourt as vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in south London this morning
One headteacher tweeted: ‘This is actually going to be a problem. I don’t have any fuel myself and all the stations in my area are out of diesel. Most of my teachers commute further than ten miles to work’.
Desperate motorists have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname ‘tanker w***ers’ from critics, as panic buying continues across the UK with fights even breaking out at the pumps.
One Twitter user said: ‘My brother in law is a lorry driver and delivers fuel. He’s on the road now and there are people following him – literally tracking his every turn – in cars. He says it’s like end of days’. He added: ‘I worried it might be really scary for him, but he just thinks they’re all kn*bs’.
Ministers will consider drafting in troops to deliver petrol and diesel later this week if panic-buying persists, sources said, after Government officials gave the green light for plans to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, as part of a plan called the Downstream Oil Protocol, for the purpose of sharing information and optimising supply.
Officials said the measure will make it easier for industry to share information so that they can prioritise the delivery of fuel to the parts of the country and strategic locations that are most in need.
Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents 5,500 independent stations, told LBC some petrol brands are seeing as many as 90% of their sites running dry.
He said: ‘We did a straw poll yesterday morning of a number of our members who have around 200 sites between them.
Motorists queued for more than a mile to get to a petrol station with fuel in West Norwood, South London, yesterday
This driver had visited three petrol stations with no fuel, as she only has 20 miles left in the tank
This cancer nurse said they had to spend a huge amount of time and money to get to work after running out of fuel
‘Fifty per cent of those we spoke to said their sites were dry and some actually said 90 per cent of their sites were dry, so it is on a company-by-company basis and almost on a brand-by-brand basis because some oil companies are still relatively okay in terms of deliveries.’
When asked about possible Government plans to grant temporary visas to get more HGV drivers, Mr Balmer said: ‘We are a fuel retailing trade association, not a logistics company, but I would have thought anything like that is going to help, but from what I hear maybe that’s not enough, so I know the Government are looking at other measures such as drafting in military drivers.
‘What we’re hoping is a lot of people have filled up over the weekend, a lot of people only fill up once a month, that might give us some respite to start to replenish stocks over the next few days.’
A suspension to competition law to assist with fuel supplies would be ‘very welcome’, Brian Madderson of the Petrol Retailers Association has said.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Madderson said that in Northern Ireland ‘there does not seem to be a problem at all with supply and retail outlets, so the problem is confined to the mainland’.
He said: ‘With the problem of dry sites, we’re really talking more about the concentrated urban areas than we are the rural areas at this stage’.
He said dry sites ‘are being restocked at the present time but the number of tankers that they’re receiving are below the number that they need to be properly restocked at their normal level of between 40% and 50%’.
Long queues before dawn at petrol stations were common across the UK today as the fuel crisis continues
Vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in south London on September 26 as ministers are set to consider mobilising the Army
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